“Calling Party Pays” by Lloyd Covens; Cellular Marketing, v0. 6, N. 6, p. 33(3), Jun. 1991.
“McCaw Offers Calling Party Pays Feature in Boise Trail; Customers Now Have More AlTordable Choices”, Business
wire, May 27, 1993. “ISDN Electronic Key Telephone Serive”, TR—NW T-000205, BellCore Publication. “ISDN Access Call Contol Switching and Signaling Requirements”, TR—TSY 000268, BellCore Publication. “Guidelines for ISDN Terminal Equipment on Basic Access
Interfaces”, SR—NT 001953, BellCore Publication. “ISDN Layer 3 Protocol Details for Support of Supplemen tary Services”, TR—TSY 000861, BellCore Publication.
dent Calls”, TR-TSY 000857 BellCore Publication.
“Flexible Calling for Managing Multiple Independent Calls”, TR—TSY 000858, BellCore Publication. “Bell Communication Research Speci?cation of SS7”, TR—NWT 000246, BellCore Publication. “Call Handling and Cell to Cell Handover”, Ericsson, 1990, DCT 900/DECT. “GSM Radio Interface”, Br. Telecom Technical Journal, Jan. 1990, vol. 8, No. 1.
Wites, “Calling Party Pays”. “Convincing Te’cos Seen as Key for Calling Party Pays Mobile Phone News”, May 24, 1990. EMX Electronics Switching Equipment Motorola. Donogue et al., entitled “The Building of Intelligent Net works — Architecture and Systems for Alcatel”, Communi
cations & Transmission, (No. 2—1989), pp. 5-22, published by Sotelec, Paris France.
A system is provided which uses a pre-purchased card
having an identity number to make long distance telephone calls or to order services over a landline telephone system.
When long distance telephone calls are being purchased, the agent selling the card has the option of selecting the long distance Interexchange Carriers to be used. The present system also allows the card purchaser to select his or her own long distance carriers. In the alternative, the card ID can be used in the same manner as a credit card if the system has
the capacity to carry out the necessary transactions to check the credit worthiness of the user.
49 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
Apr. 15, 1997
Sheet 1 0f 5
Apr. 15, 1997
Sheet 2 of 5
Apr. 15, 1997
Sheet 3 of 5
cm m 10A
PREPAID CASH CARD
cash card value and deducts the account as call progression occurs.
The customer acquires a card with a special code, a credit
amount and thetelephone number of a special central o?ice or “like” facility by either a cash or credit card payment. The code, the credit amount and telephone numbers may be
The present invention relates to the use of a prepaid cash
card to purchase services via telephone. The system encom
passing the prepaid cash card would provide for selection of multiple interexchange carriers and a variety of techniques
acquired, for example through the regular credit card com panies and charged to the acquirer’s credit card. Altema tively, the credit amount, the telephone numbers and iden
for authenticating the user of the prepaid cash card to purchase services on credit via telephone.
tifying code can be purchased at sales points such as in airports, hotels, rent-a-car stations and the like. The amount paid is credited to the acquirer for use against future tele phone calls. The credited amount is stored in a memory at the special central office or the like, such as a data base or
ACRONYMS The written description uses a large number of acronyms to refer to various services and system components. Although generally known, use of several of these acronyms is not strictly standardized in the art. For purposes of this discussion, acronyms therefore will be de?ned as follows:
Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) Central O?icc (CO) Common Channel Inter-of?ce Signalling (CCIS)
platform, along with the special code. A party wishing to make a telephone call which may be a local call or a toll call can acquire a prepaid credit amount.
He ore, she uses the nearest available telephone, removes the
handset and dials a special data base, platform or special 20
Cash Card Network (CCN)
Data and Reporting System (DRS) Direct-in-Dial (DID) Dircct-out-Dial (DOD) Integrated Service Control Point (ISCP) Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
that the computer at the exchange is ready for he or she, he or she dials the identifying code and the called number he or 25
Intelligent Peripheral (IP)
she wants. The computer at the special exchange checks the code and registers the desired called number. If the code number is a genuine code with credit, a regular dial tone is sent to the calling party station as he or she is
Interexchange Carrier (IXC) Maintenance and Operations Center (MOC) Multi-Services Application Platform (MSAP)
connected to the regular telephone system. The computer at the special exchange routes the call on the most economical
available lines according to prior arrangements with long distance line suppliers. The calling party’s predialed num
Service Control Point (SCP)
Service Creation Environment (SCE)
bers are transmitted. The system can also be arranged so that
Service Management System (SMS) Service Switching Point (SSP) Signaling Transfer Point (STP) Simpli?ed Message Desk Interface (SMDI)
central o?ice. When he or she is connected to the data base,
platform, special central o?ice or exchange, a special dial tone is sent from the special exchange to the calling station. When the calling party hears the special dial tone, indicating
the calling party dials the called party responsive to receipt 35
of the regular dial tone.
Special exchange equipment such as an intelligent plat form can provide an arti?cial or prerecorded voice armouncement stating the amount of credit available and that the amount of credit is equivalent to so many minutes of
talking time on the call being connected. The announcement is made according to the charge rate for the distance between
calling and called parties.
Landline telephones are available in most places. Most telephones are privately owned and thus any telephone calls
A credit check can be accomplished contemporaneously
on a particular line are charged to the telephone subscriber 45 with the number code veri?cation. If the code is invalid an or a monthly or bimonthly basis. Due to accounting com— announcement is made advising the customer to try again.
plication, it is not always possible or convenient to deter mine the time and charges for a single telephone call as it is made. Consequently, multiple users on a single phone line
The customer is allowed a predetermined plurality of tries
(for example three) before being disconnected from the special central o?ice. If he or she is trying again for the
Also, toll or long distance telephone calls can be very
second and third times he or she is reconnected to receive the special dial tone. After the third time he or she is released
problematic. Long distance calls can be made by charging
from the special exchange after receiving a recorded
the call to a local telephone such as for example to a
announcement explaining that the code is not valid. Conventional systems can operate to allow the calling
can be very awkward.
telephone in a hotel room. The long distance call can be
made by instant payment such as when using a public payphone. A long distance call can also be made by charging
party to dial while the veri?cation is being accomplished, in which case when the calling party hears normal dial tone, a
the call to the calling party’s home or business telephone or
register in the exchange can then input the dialed informa
by using a telephone company credit card number. Further,
tion to cause the exchange to complete the call between the
a long distance call can be made as a “collect call” where the
calling party and the called party.
called party has to accept the call and is then billed for the
A normal time and distance computing circuit such as a peg counter, can be put into service to provide information
time charged for the call. It is presently known that certain companies (i.e., AT&T, Sprint and others) are offering prepaid cash card calling over
for timing the call against the available credit. Thus, for example, the information from the peg counter is sent to a
comparator to continuously determine whether the calling
their own networks. Generally these services involve allow
ing access to the provider’s network by having the end-user dial an 800 number. A database with account management
party’s credit is su?icient to pay for the call. When the credit equals the used time rate the call is automatically ended by
and real-time-rating capabilities (RATER) tracks the prepaid
Upon failure to maintain a positive credit level, the connection between the calling and called party opens, the
When the code number and credit of a user are veri?ed,
the calling party is then connected through a register to a redialer. The register stores the called number received from the calling party and directs the redialer to dial the number
connection to the computer however remains and an announcement is made to notify the customer to insert another code number, if available. If a new code number
after veri?cation, the dialed number or dial tones are
(with valid credit) is inserted by the customer, then the
directed through router to the regular telephone system. The router selects the best possible route cost-wise for the
calling party again receives a dial tone and can dial a new called party. In other words he or she goes back to the input where he or she has computer tone and he or she is told to dial the code number and the calling party number. All the steps are repeated and the new call is connected. If the customer does not have a new code number, then the
connection between the computer and the calling party is
opened. The call can also be terminated by the user. When the call is terminated by the user, and he or she still has credit, he or she is again connected to normal dial tone, and he or she merely has to dial another call, if he or she so desires. If he
With the dedicated telephone, when the calling party
or she does want to dial another call, then he or she returns the handset to the hookswitch. If he or she does want to
make another call he or she dials the number after hearing a normal dial tone. Thus, the customer does not have to
repeat the entire connection back to the computer and have
the validation procedure repeated. He or she had already been checked and validated and therefore he or she is connected to a normal dial tone. The process is repeated as 25
long as positive credit remains. With a dedicated public telephone, the customer calling party must have a prepaid code number. To begin the operation, he or she goes off hook with the dedicated public telephone. The calling station receives computer dial tones
as soon as going off hook. He or she then dials in the secret
audibly noti?ed of the amount of credit available in his code.
tied to that single card having the single authorization determines authorization for credit purchases.
to tie up the telephone. After the ?ve minute time period, the 45
recorded message may be sent to notify potential users that
There may be other circumstances in which an individual has established credit, either with a telephone company or a credit authorization network, and wishes to allow a number
of simultaneous credit purchases to take place (for example, those conducted by other persons having been made privy to the individual’s credit authorization). This sort of ?exibility
this phone is out of order for diminishing periods of time, i.e., three minutes, four minutes, etc. After veri?cation of the code number and credit the
is not accommodated in the aforementioned conventional
calling party is connected to the regular telephone system
credit arrangements. Another drawback of conventional telephone credit pur chasing systems is that the purchased long distance tele
and receives a regular dial tone. The calling party goes
through the normal call process. Responsive to his dialing, he or she is given a call duration announcement indicating the length of call time his credit amount will allow. The time
phone call is carried out over a predetermined route selected 55
by the operator of the telephone credit operation. The end user has no input regarding which long distance carriers or which routes will be used to carry out the long distance call. Thus, an individual user who has made special arrangements
can be terminated either due to lack of credit or by the user.
the computer and receives the computer dial tone. If he or she does not dial in his code number after a predetermined time period he or she is disconnected. Using an announce
appropriate security safeguard for a single card (with its own
number. Thus, it is the card number rather than a credit authorization number associated with an individual that
courage practical jokes, fraud or anybody maliciously trying
If the user terminates by dialing special code for example or by closing the hook switch when there is still more credit left, the user is then provided with a regular dial tone. If there is no credit left then the calling party phone is connected to
the same code. In addition, the codes each have a home memory which other special exchanges can check. This is an authorization number) issued to a single individual. The use of only one call (or purchasing operation) at a time for a single card number presupposes that all credit operations are
If an invalid code is inputted more than a predetermined
change rate of the call this information is continuously computed and subtracted from the credit amount. The call
system when the calling party’s credit is being checked, it is necessary that the call position in the memory of the controller be supplied with a disenabling code to prevent the
simultaneous operation of the two different telephones using
number of times (three times for example), then the phone is disconnected for a speci?ed time period (for example, ?ve minutes). This disconnection time is implemented to dis
phone is returned to its normal operating capabilities. A
replaces the hand set, the hook switch a short delay (for example ten seconds) take place, an announcement is made to the calling party notifying the calling party that he or she may call another party without calling the computer again within the allocated time delay. It is known to use special codes, such as 999, to terminate a call. The calling party can then get another call without having to redial the special exchange and his code. Another special code such as 888, can be used to input more credit with another code number. In order to maintain security on the aforementioned
code number and the system checks to see if he or she has a valid number. If he or she does, he or she is visually or If he or she does not have a valid code then he or she is noti?ed that he or she has inserted an invalid code. A recorded message can be sent for this purpose.
particular call if it is a toll call. The dedicated telephone operates in much the same way as the private phone. The difference is in the special com puter control used to time the dedicated public telephone. The calling customer has the ability to disconnect from the called party but stay connected to the special exchange by dialing a special number. This caller can switch to another code number during the call, before the call and after the call and still remain connected to the special central o?ice.
with a particular long distance interexchange carrier is 60
unable to take advantage of such an arrangement when using
the conventional telephone credit purchasing arrangements. It is also noted that conventional telephone credit pur chasing arrangements are directed only to the purchase of long distance telephone calls. There is no accommodation
ment, he or she can be noti?ed to input a code or be 65 for an individual wishing to make a credit purchase over the
disconnected. It should be understood that both announce ments and visual indications can be used.
telephone of other goods or services, even telephone ser vices other than a preselected long distance call. Thus, a
individual purchaser of conventional art telephone credit
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
cards ?nds that he or she must go through a separate authorization routine (with its own Personal Identi?cation
addition to those required for other credit purchases by the
FIG. 1 is a block diagram depicting a telephone system with modi?cations necessary for supporting the present invention. FIG. 2 is a block diagram depicting a variation of the system of the present invention directed to an Advanced
Number (PIN)) or authorization number. This can be bur densome to the individual user since the additional autho
rization routine constitutes efforts that must be made in
FIG. 3 is a block diagram depicting a variation of the
Another drawback of conventional telephone credit sys tems is that an elaborate credit card is generated for each user. Of necessity, the generation and distribution of con
present invention employing an Intelligent Peripheral (IP). FIG. 4 is a block diagram depicting elements of an IP.
ventional telephone cash cards must be severely constrained in order to keep cards from falling into the hands of
FIG. 5 is a block diagram depicting an expanded system using an ISDN trunk.
wrongful users. Thus, a user may have di?iculty obtaining
the card, refreshing it and carrying out the necessary autho rization procedure.
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
These drawbacks are addressed by the system, with its various embodiments, of the present invention described below. 20
described, infra, the purchaser (end user) of the prepaid cash
DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
card will have the option of selecting his or her own
1. Objects One object of the present invention is enablement of quick convenient prepayment of telephone calls. Another object of the present invention is to provide users
Interexchange Carrier (IXC) if long distance calls are pur chased with the card of the present invention. After purchase of a prepaid cash card, which has a set dollar value determined at the time of the purchase, the end-user can access services over the Cash Card Network
of a prepaid cash card with a choice of inter-exchange carriers. A further object of the present invention is to provide a plurality of different types and levels of authentication for
(CCN) such as that described with respect to the conven tional art. When an end-user uses the prepaid cash card to
place calls, the intelligence to permit call completion will exist within a separate platform (such as vendor platform 4 in FIG. 1) rather than in the calling station. The account
ordering and paying for a variety of telephone calling services. Still another object of the present invention is to provide quick and easy access to the purchase of goods and services
Like the conventional art, the present invention is based upon a prepaid cash card that provides an alternative to using coins or other forms of payment for toll calls. As will be
management and call rating for the call will be provided through a separate authorization network which can be 35
integrated into an Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) technology in the ultimate version. However, initially the
via telephone. Yet an additional object of the present invention is to provide a method of authenticating purchases made over a
prototype version will not rely on AIN, but rather a dedi cated network as depicted in FIG. 1.
telephone system. 2. Summary accomplished using a method of purchasing via telephone
The subject prepaid cash card would provide the com petitive advantage of olfering access to multiple carriers to its end-users. All of the necessary authorization functions can be handled within a single telephone system LATA
connection. The method includes the steps of generating a
(intra-LATA) in accordance with the arrangement depicted
These and other objects of the present invention are
prepaid cash card having identi?cation data as well as a 45 in FIG. 1. This is done by the use of a vendor platform 4 monetary value based upon cash paid by an end user of the which functions as an authorization platform and a Rater card. As part of the generation process, an agent selling the such -as those previously described. However, the vendor card selects an interexchange carrier for use with the prepaid platform is not limited to the previously described prepaid cash card for long distance calling. For the user to make cash card systems. The vendor platform is also used by both
purchases, registration is carried out using ID data from the card via telephone connection to an authorization platform. If the user is making a long distance telephone call, the user is permitted to select a second interexchange carrier and to carry out any purchases, such as that of a long distance phone call, via the telephone connection established with the
authorization platform. The aforementioned method operates on a system
the selling agent and the end user to select Interexchange Carriers (IXC) (such as carriers 6 and 7) so that an end user
wishing to make a telephone call using the prepaid cash card of the present invention will have the option of selecting the 55
optimum route based upon his or her situation. An end user making a call from station 10A and 10B will dial an 800 number to access the prepaid cash card system
(at the vendor platform 4). Like all outgoing calls, the 800
arranged for carrying out purchases via the telephone con
number dialed by the user at 10A is processed by a standard nection. The system includes means for generating a prepaid telephone company central office switch 2A. An example of cash card with ID data, as well as means for assigning a 60 such switches would be constituted by an SS7 con?gured for prepaid monetary amount to that card. Other means exist for use in an AIN. An SSP-capable central o?ice switching allowing the agent to select an interexchange carrier as well systems typically consist of a programmable digital switch as allowing the end user of the card to select another with CCIS communications capabilities. One example of an interexchange carrier. This is done using an authorization SSP capable CO switch is a 5ESS type switch manufactured platform accessible by a user of the card over a telephone 65 by AT&T; but other vendors, such as Northern Telecom and line so that a purchase via the telephone connection can be
Seimens, manufacture comparable digital switches which
carried out using the authorization platform.
could serve as the SSP’s.
The embodiment using an AIN is perhaps an ideal imple mentation of the present invention which would make a variety of AIN services widely available at the local oi?ce
service from the calling end o?ice 2A to the called number is computed in the Rater. This toll is then checked against the status of the account
level throughout the network. Other AIN implementations provide the SSP functionality only at selected points in the network. End offices without such functionality forward
of the identi?ed calling customer to determine whether or not the account contains su?icient funds to process the call. The Rater 14 then initiates a message back to the caller indicating the amount of cash in the account and the corre
calls to one of the SSP’s. However, in this embodiment of the present invention, the AIN is not necessary. Conse quently, the end office switch 2A can be constituted by
considerably less complex or less elaborately programmed devices than the well known SS7 switch. Upon identifying
sponding number of minutes of call which would be per mitted for the requested call. The Rater then dials out the 10
requested call back through the CO 516 which services the
the 800 number, the switch routes the call to the proper
Rater. The call is thereafter handled in routine fashion with
inter-exchange carrier (IXC) 5. The call is then delivered to vendor platform 4 in accordance with the 800 number dialed by the user. Afterwards, the additional functions of the
least cost routing performed in the conventional manner by the network commencing with CO 2B. The calls stays up through the Rater for the entire duration of the prepaid cash card call. The Rater originates the call and then does a
present invention can be carried out as described infra.
The second implementation of the present invention is illustrated in block diagram form in FIG. 2. According to this implementation, an end-user may use any telephone station 10 to place a call to the telephone network via the end o?ice 2A connected to the telephone 10. This implementation is
conference bridge to CO 2A and the calling telephone station 10A. The Rater monitors and times the call and will not allow the call to exceed the amount on deposit in the caller’s account. The Rater will give the caller a one minute 20
arranged to utilize the advantages presented by certain portions of AIN, such as Signaling Transfer Point (STP) 26. With the exception of the connection to the AIN elements, the arrangement of FIG. 2 is very much like that described with respect to the conventional art. The implementation of
A more comprehensive AIN implementation is illustrated in FIG. 3. Referring to that ?gure, prepaid cash card selec— tion from station 10 through SSP/CO 2A will initiate through STP 16 a TCAP message to ISCP 37 or to an IP
interface 38. This TCAP message (trigger) will cause the ISCP to direct the switch 2A which is associated with the Rater 34 to play an armouncement requesting the end user to enter their account number and the number of the called
FIG. 1 can also be used where a connection between end o?ice switch 2A would be made to STP 26 and then to 800
data base 28. For purposes of describing the present inven tion, the implementation of FIG. 2 could stand alone without the connection to the AIN elements since the functions carried out in the FIG. 1 implementation can also be carried out in the FIG. 2 implementation without the AIN elements. However, it is noted that the presence of the AIN elements make implementation of the present invention much easier
prompt notice and then terminate the call at the expiration of that minute.
Party The ISCP will validate the account number and direct the switch 2A to play an announcement providing current
account balance and call time for the call just placed. At this point the ISCP will direct the switch 2A to add on the Rater to carry out. 34 as a resource while simultaneously downloading the account information to the Rater. The Rater will then moni Deployed in the network is a Cash Card Rater (Rater) 14, which is used in the manner of a PBX associated with an end tor the call and decrement the account balance. If the office 2B. The Rater may be connected to its end o?ice via account balance is exhausted during the call, the Rater will Direct-in-Dial (DID) lines 18 and Direct-out-Dial (DOD) 40 play a one minute warning announcement and then termi~ lines 20. The end office 2B may also be connected to a nate the call at the expiration of the minute. Upon call tandem switch (TDM) 3 and to an interexchange carrier termination, the Rater 34 will upload the current account balance to the ISCP. (IXC) 24. The initiating end o?ice 2A is connected to the STP 26 which is in turn connected to the 800 database 28. The messages transmitted between the SSP’s and the The sequence of a typical prepaid cash card call may be as 45 ISCP are all formatted in accord with the Transaction follows: Capabilities Applications Protocol (TCAP). The TCAP pro The end-user at telephone station 10, which may or may tocol provides standardized formats for various query and not be a toll station, dials an access number which could be response messages. Each query and response includes data
a lO-digit number but which is initially being considered as an l-800-access number. The dialing of this number would go to the 800 database 28 where it would be translated to a POTS number and sent to the appropriate central o?’ice
which has been assigned the NNX for 800. In this illustra
?elds for a variety of different pieces of information relating to the current call. For example, an initial TCAP query from the SSP includes, among other data, a “Service Key” which
is the calling party's address. TCAP also speci?es a standard
message response format including routing information,
tion the 800 database translates the 800 number to a POTS such as primary carrier ID, alternate carrier ID and second number which is sent to the end office 2B serving the Rater 55 alternate carrier ID and a routing number and a destination 14. The end office 2B sends the call to the Cash Card Rarer number. The TCAP speci?es a number of additional mes
14. The Rater queries the caller and proceeds through a suitable voice menu selection process where the caller inputs his account number and the number which the caller desires
sage formats, for example a format for a subsequent query from the SSP, and formats for “INVOKE” messages for
The Rater 14, via the voice menu, obtains from the caller the customer account number and the number the customer or user desires to call. The customer account number, which
instructing the SSP to play an announcement or to play an announcement and collect digits and a “SEND TO RESOURCES” message to instruct the SSP to route to another network node. There could be one or more ISCP’s per regional coverage
may be printed on the caller’s prepaid cash card, is received
area, to avoid overloading existing CCIS data links. Alter
by the Rater and matched with a database of account 65 natively, the ISCP could be implemented on a LATA by numbers maintained in a memory at the Rater. The proposed LATA basis or on a regional operating company basis, i.e. called number is also received by the Rater and the toll for one database for the entire geographic area serviced by one
of the Regional Bell Operating Companies. In fact, if Federal regulations permitted, the database service could
initial authorization process, a credit card could be used, or a bank account could be used as indication of credit wor
thiness. A credit line could be established against an existing
become nationwide. Based upon known usage in the conventional art, it is
bank account, against existing credit card accounts, or a new account could be opened on behalf of the purchaser and
probable that the most popular purchase made by prepaid cash cards is for long distance telephone calls. As indicated
maintained by either the local telephone carrier or the selling agent providing the card to the purchaser.
in the explanation of the conventional art, the routing for such calls is preselected, probably by the telephone carrier issuing the cards. With this arrangement, the inter-exchange carriers (IXC) are selected by the local telephone carrier
Once credit worthiness of the purchaser or user has been
established, multiple application capability can be instituted. For example, any restaurant or other vendor that does business over the telephone using established credit accounts can be accessed by the user to make purchasers. Further, other services may be available to the user via
based upon circumstances that are most favorable to that
telephone carrier. However, the particular IXC selected may not be most favorable for the conditions in effect for the location at which the prepaid cash card is issued to a user. In order to
established credit lines accessed through the prepaid cash card number of the present invention. Such services could require payment from the line of credit or existing accounts or could be provided gratis as part of the service available to users of the prepaid cash card. Examples include provision
optimize advantages based upon the location at which the prepaid cash card is issued, the issuing agent has the option of picking the most advantageous IXCs for making long distance phone calls from the region in which the prepaid
of stock information, sports scores, music, advertising, etc. Such services would be provided from vendor platforms
cash card issued. In order for the issuing agent to select the
(such as 4 in FIG. 1) that can be interfaced with a credit authorization system or credit network. The available ser agent can go through the same process previously described vices could be reviewed using a special menu accessed with respect to making long distance telephone calls. Under, through a l-800 number. The menu could be provided by a vendor platform connected to a serving SSP or accessed via such circumstances, the issuing agent would be provided with a special identi?cation number and preferably an 25 an ISCP (such as 34 in FIG. 3).
IXC for long distance calls from the agent’s region, the
additional group code number to assure security. The issuing agent could log on with the vendor platform 4 in order to
Since, under such circumstances, security of the authori zation number used by the purchase would be particularly
make the selection of preferred IXCs in the same manner as
critical, special steps would have to be taken to maintain such security. The ?rst step would be the protection of the identi?cation number on the prepaid cash card. However, since such numbers are normally printed on the card, loss of the card would compromise any security, and if a line of credit had been opened based upon the card number, pur— chaser’s funds could be jeopardized by a wrongful user who had somehow acquired the card. A second level of security
a purchaser would log on to the vendor platform in order to
make long distance telephone calls. An additional advantage of the present invention is that
the purchaser of the prepaid cash card would have the option of selecting his or her own IXCs when logging onto the
vendor platform for purposes of making a long distance telephone call. The vendor platform could be provided with messaging functions to advise the user of the default IXC, as
would be an additional group number or group code to be
well as providing instructions for selecting an IXC of choice. These messaging functions could be contained as part of the vendor platform or could be provided as part of an IP (not shown). In this selection process, it is necessary that the
provided by the issuing agent. Such a code could be pro
purchaser provide any identi?cation number from the pre
An additional level of security can be provided by a selec tion of a secret Personal Identi?cation Number (PIN) by the
vided on a separate piece of hard copy so that a wrongful
user would have more difficulty obtaining all the necessary authorization data to access the purchaser’s credit account.
paid cash card, any group code or PIN in order to maintain the integrity of the system. The same procedure would have
purchaser. This would be generated by the purchaser and
to be followed by the issuing agent. This is particularly important since while selecting the long distance IXCs, the issuing agent could also be determining the credit value of
entered the ?rst time that the purchaser establishes authori zation to make a purchase using the prepaid cash card. Such a number would have to be memorized by the purchaser or kept on a separate hard copy accessible only to the pur chaser. Unfortunately, for convenience, there would be a tendency by purchasers to put all three numbers on the same
any cards that issue. It is also necessary to maintain security that since the agent when assigning the credit value to a card to be sold will also be using the identi?cation or code number of that card. The identi?cation number or code number associated with
a prepaid cash card is also particularly important since this number can be used by the ultimate user/purchaser to obtain more than long distance calling service. Referring to FIG. 1,
hard copy so that a wrongful user ?nding the card would
have no di?iculty accessing the purchaser’s line of credit. One solution to the aforementioned problem would be the use of voice recognition as an authorization mechanism. 55
the vendor platform can connect a user/purchaser at station 10A to a credit authorization system 9 at which the user’s
credit worthiness could be evaluated for telephone purchases made over credit network 11. Such networks are well known in the conventional art and
examples exist to facilitate the purchase of goods via tele phone using a credit card. Credit network 11 merely repre
The voice recognition system could be part of an IP attached to the vendor platform of FIG. 1. If the system of
sents the consolidation of any number of such networks
currently in use. Thus, it is possible to establish credit authorization based upon the purchaser’s identi?cation or code number from the prepaid cash card. This could be done in the same manner as is done for any credit card. In the
When the purchaser would ?rst call in to establish authori zation with the vendor platform, a voice recognition sequence could be run so that in the future, authorization numbers would not be necessary. Rather, the system would merely carry out voice recognition to allow a purchaser to have access to the line of credit to make purchases over the
FIG. 2 is used, the voice recognition system could be part of 65
an IP attached to the cash card Rater 14. On the other hand,
the voice recognition system could be part of the 800 data base 28. Art additional alternative is found in FIG. 3 where
the IP supporting voice recognition could be contained
ties and DTMF tone signal reception, for use in a number of
within KIT IP 38. An additional IP could also be attached to
diiferent applications. The speech synthesis and DTMF tone signal reception, for example will replace the announcement and digit collection functions of the SSP switches in various existing AIN services. The general purpose computers and
either data base 34 or IP 38. The use of a voice recognition
IP for authorization purposes is preferable to obtain the optimum use of the subject system in which a purchase would not be limited to a hard copy of the prepaid cash card, or the dollar amount originally assigned to that card. Rather, the purchaser could initially establish a line of credit to be refreshed from other existing lines of credit or sources of funds. Any of the embodiments of FIGS. 1—3 would support a
associated circuits will also run a variety of other types of service program modules, for example a voice mail server module and/or a fax mail server module. l0
types of services or functions, for example, one or two
connection to a credit authorization system and a credit
network thereby allowing purchaser to use the original authorization whether by voice recognition or secret code numbers to carry out virtually any purchasing operation supportable by the purchaser’s ?nancial resources via tele
Direct Talk type voice server modules 9203A, 9203B for interfacing the trunk to the SSP, a separate module 9205 for speech recognition, a server module 9209 for voice mail, and another server 9207 for fax mail services, etc. The various modules communicate with one another via an data
communication system 9210, which again may be an Eth
phone. Those skilled in the art of telephone network con ?guration would have no di?iculty accessing a credit autho rization system and credit network via either the arrangements of FIG. 2 or FIG. 3.
ernet type local area network.
The Direct Talk modules 9203A, 9203B provide voice message transmission and dialed digit collection capabili
For the FIG. 2 embodiment, access to the credit authori
zation system could be via tandem switch 3, an additional SS7 switch (not shown) or via a connection to 800 data base
28. In the FIG. 3 embodiment, the most likely con?guration
would include a connection from ISCP 37 to another ISCP 25
(not shown) serving a credit authorization system and credit network. However, the key to this expanded operation is the
ties, as in the earlier embodiment. The modules 9203A, 9203B also provide line interfaces for communications to and from those servers which do not incorporate line inter faces. For example, for facsimile mail, the Direct Talk module connected to a call would demodulate incoming data and convert the data to a digital format compatible with the internal data communication network 9210. The data would then be transferred over network 9210 to the fax server
use of a voice recognition system, preferably contained in an IP associated with the vendor platform 4. It is noted that the
9207. For outgoing facsimile transmission, the server 9207 would transfer the data to one of the Direct Talk modules over the network 9210. The Direct Talk module would reformat and/or modulate the data as appropriate for trans mission over the ISDN link to the SSP. The Direct Talk modules provide a similar interface function for the other
vendor platform can access such an IP via a tandem switch
FIG. 4 depicts IP details. In this implementation, the IP will consist of two or more general purpose computers
9101A, 9101B, such as IBM RS-6000’s. Each general purpose computer will include a digital voice processing
FIG. 5 depicts an alternate arrangement of the IP. The alternate architecture utilizes separate modules for different
card for sending and receiving speech and other audio
servers, such as the voice mail server 9209. The illustrated IP also includes a communication server 9213. The communication server 9213 connects between the
frequency signals, such as an IBM D-talk 600. Each voice
data communication system 9210 and the router 9211 which provides communications access to the second signalling 9103B which provides the actual interface to T1 or primary 40 communication system and the ISCP 940 and other IP’s rate interface ISDN trunks to the SSP type switching o?ice. which connect to that signalling communication system. The The plurality of computers may have associated dedicated communication server 9213 controls communications disk storage 9105A, 9105B, and the IP will included a between the modules within the IP and the second signalling shared disk memory 9107. Each computer will also include communication system. an interface card for providing two-way communications 45 In each of the proposed architectures, the SSP switch
processing card will connect to a voice server card 9103A or
over an internal data communications system, such as Eth ernet type local area network 9109. The Ethernet carries
would route calls to the different elements of the IP in response to instructions from the ISCP. In the initial imple
communications between the individual computers and
mentation using general purpose computers (FIG. 4), each of
between the computers and a router 9111 which provides an
interconnection to the second signalling communications network going to the ISCP. The I? may also include another general purpose computer 9115 con?gured as a terminal subsystem, for use as a maintenance and operations center
(MOC) and providing operations personnel access to the IP.
which offers all service functionalities, the decision to route 50
to a particular one of the computers would be a resource
availability/allocation decision. If necessary data can be exchanged between the computers via the internal data communications network, e.g. if a message for a particular subscriber’s service is stored in the disc memory associated
The number of processors provided in the IP and the number 55 with one computer but the other computer is actually pro of voice servers will depend on project service demands. cessing the call. In the second implementation (FIG. 5), One additional processor and associated voice server will be however, the ISCP would instruct the SSP to route the call provided as a backup. for the particular line to the speci?c module capable of Each general purpose computer 9101A, 9101B will run a providing a calling customer’s individual service. For node manager, an IP/ISCP Interface program, appropriate 60 example, if the subscriber has some form of speech recog voice processing software and a variety of application nition service, the call would be routed to the speech software modules to oifer the proposed services of the IP. recognition module 9205, If the subscriber has a voice mail The central administrator or “Node Manager” program service, however, the ISCP would instruct the SSP to route module, running on each computer, will monitor and control the call to one of the lines going to one of the voice server the various IP resources and operations. 65 modules 9203A, 9203B. The module 9203A, or 92038 The digital voice processing card and associated software would receive outgoing voice messages from the voice mail will provide speech synthesis, speech recognition capabili server 9209 for transmission to the caller. The module
9203A or 9203B would decode DTMF signals and supply appropriate data to the voice mail server, for control pur
the IP, while the SSP is routing the call the ISCP could instruct the IP to prepare to receive a call on a particular
circuit. For example, for a call which might require speech recognition processing, the ISCP would instruct the IP to
poses. The module 9203A or 9203B would also format
incoming voice messages for transmission over internal network 9210 and storage by server 9209.
retrieve appropriate recognition templates from memory. Other protocols could be used to permit either the ISCP or the IP to initiate communications.
Using a proprietary protocol +1129 developed for this project, the IP will query ISCP in response to a call. Thus, during a call, a trigger event occurs. The SSP queries the ISCP which responds by instructing the SSP to route the call
to the 1P, using standard TCAP protocol messages. Using the
Speech recognition module 9205 (in FIG. 5) can be 10
+1129 protocol, when the SSP routes the call to the IP, then the IP queries the ISCP and receives one or a sequence of instructions as to how to process the particular call. The message set de?ned by this protocol is as follows: Providelnstructions—message sent by the IP to ask ISCP
tage of the bene?ts of the present invention. As previously described a vendor platform such as 9216 can be accessed to
make purchases by the users on the basis of existing credit accounts accessed via the number of the prepaid cash card of the present invention. The credit validation authorization platform 9215 generally works with a bank or debit/credit network 9214 as previously described. An alternative is LIDB validation platform 9217 which has the capability of acting as a rater for the prepaid cash card of the present
software for information on handling a call. Begins a transaction and provides necessary information to start
the appropriate MSAP script. CallInfoTaReSource-sent by ISCP software to the IP to inform it to play messages to the caller and/or collect and return digits entered by the caller. May inform the
invention, and carrying out the authorization functions with respect to making long distance telephone calls and selecting interexchange carriers.
IP to terminate the call.
The intelligent card reader pay phones 100 and 10d would
CallInfoFromResource-message sent by the IP in response to the preceding CalllnfoToResource mes sage. Includes result code and collected digits.
have the capability of reading either a standard credit card or 25 a smart/cash card, or even a copy of the prepaid cash card.
However, the prepaid cash card of the present invention depends upon retaining the secrecy of the number provided
SwitchlnfoToResource-message sent by ISCP software
on issuance of the card so that reading the card is not necessary, and even may be considered undesirable. None
to provide the IP with the information it needs to transfer the call elsewhere. This message and the fol lowing one are not part of TA-NWT-0O1l29.
SwitchInf0Fr0mRes0urce—message sent by the IP or ISCP software with the result of the preceding Switch 35
preceding message requested that the call be tenni nated. Also, may be sent by the IP asynchronously to alert ISCP software that the call was temrinated by the customer. This message includes a parameter describ 40
ing the “cause” for terminating the call.
CancelResourceEvenl—message sent asynchronously by ISCP software to terminate the conversation. Implies
abnormal termination, Normally CallInfoToResource is used to terrrrinate a call.
ExtendedlnfoToResource-message sent by ISCP soft ware to the IP to provide a standard format for extend
ing the message set above. In this speci?cation, it is used to extend the message set to include the Play
Application with information message. ExtendedFromToResource—message sent by the IP to ISCP software in response to the ExtendedlnfoToRe I
A modi?ed protocol speci?ed in Bellcore TA-NWT 001129 includes a similar but somewhat smaller message set 55 which may be used for communications between an ISCP and an SSP as an enhancement over the standard TCAP message set.
As an alternative or in addition to the +1129 protocol, communications between the IP and the ISCP may utilize generic data interface (GDI). The GDI command set is simpler and more generic, and the commands can carry more data. Also, the ISCP can initiate communications using GDI.
This permits a wider variety of routing and processing routines. In response to a triggering event, the SSP would 65 again receive instructions to route a call in progress to the IP.
However, rather than waiting for a subsequent query from
theless, it is important that as many options be provided for the user as possible in order to make the system as “user
friendly” as possible. The pay phone would of course continue to accept coins and handle standard l-800 calling functions. A single ISDN line with a two-voice capability
InfoToResource. ResourceClear-message may be sent by the IP in response to a preceding CalllnfoToResource if that
source message above.
accessed by other users, such as those at intelligent card reader pay phones 10C and 10D. These pay phones are connected to ISDN primary trunks in order to take advan
would be able to serve two public pay phones. In such an
arrangement a single ISD line would interface with all of the AIN network, LIDB validation platform, credit card net work, voice recognition platform, voice mail server, etc. Thus the maximum ?exibility would be provided to the user of the network. Of course, the greatest facility would be provided through the use of the prepaid cash card of the present invention, rendering easy access to all of the services associated with an advanced intelligent network. Although a number of arrangements of the present inven tion have been mentioned by way of example, it is not intended that the invention be limited thereto. For example, the present invention can be adapted by appropriate use to
include any functionality possible with the IP previously described. There is no need to limit the functionality of the IP to voice recognition. Rather, access to electronic mail or
other services can be facilitated by the arrangement of the
present invention. Accordingly, this invention should be considered to include any and all con?gurations, modi?ca tions, variations, combinations or equivalent arrangements following within the scope of the following claims. We claim: 1. A method of purchasing services via a telephone
connection, comprising the steps of: (a) generating, by a sales agent, a prepaid cash card which includes a unique data set for identi?cation (ID) pur poses; (b) selecting an interexchange carrier for use with said
prepaid cash card by an agent selling said prepaid cash
card; (0) purchasing said prepaid cash card from said agent by said user and assigning a monetary value to said
prepaid cash card;
(d) registering said ID data set via a telephone connection
21. The method of claim 20, wherein said additional
to an authorization platform;
monetary value is authorized via a connection between said
authorization platform and a credit purchasing system. 22. The method of claim 21, wherein said connection between said authorization platform and said credit purchas ing system is carried out by using standard telephone voice
(e) selecting a second interexchange carrier by said user in use of said card; and
(f) following said registration of said ID data set by using said card in carrying out a purchase via a telephone
channels. 23. The method of claim 21, wherein said connection
connection to a vendor.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said step (d) further comprises storing said monetary value in said authorization
between said authorization platform and said credit purchas ing system is carried out over common channel intero?ice
signaling channels, and is controlled by an (ISCP). 24. The method of claim 20, further comprising the step
3. The method of claim 2, wherein said step (f) further comprises verifying said ID data set at an authorization
exchange. 4. The method of claim 3, wherein said step of verifying said ID data set comprises veri?cation by a credit purchasing
(h) storing rate information for a plurality of interex 15
25. The method of claim 24, wherein said rates are updated via a standard telephone voice channel connection between said authorization platform and an external data base. 26. The method of claim 24, wherein said update is
5. The method of claim 3, wherein said step (f) further comprises the step of comparing said monetary value to a monetary value corresponding to the value, of the desired
purchase. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein said prepaid cash card is authorized for sale by said agent based upon a transfer of funds between said agent and a telephone service provider. 7. The method of claim 6, wherein said purchase com
prises services provided by said second interexchange car rier selected by said agent.
carried out over common channel intero?ice signaling lines
controlled by an ISCP. 27. The method of claim 8, wherein said services provided by said second interexchange carrier comprise a voice mail 25
28. The method of claim 8, wherein said services provided by said second interexchange carrier comprise a voice mail
prises services provided by said second interexchange car rier selected by said user. 9. The method of claim 1, wherein step (d) is carried out by establishing a telephone connection between a telephone company central o?ice switch and said authorization plat form using a 1-800 telephone line. 10. The method of claim 1, wherein said authorization
platform comprises an Intelligent Peripheral (IP) associated 35
11. The method of claim 1, wherein said authorization
platform comprises an Intelligent Peripheral (IP) associated with a tandem switch connected to a telephone company
central o?ice switch servicing said user. 12. The method of claim 1, wherein said ID data set comprises a Personal Identi?cation Number (PIN) generated with said prepaid cash card. 13. The method of claim 12, wherein said ID data set
further comprises a group code provided by a telephone
33. The method of claim 1, wherein step (f) further
comprises using said second interexchange carrier selected by said user. 45
16. The method of claim 10, wherein said IP is connected
said user in use of said card; and (e) means for a user carrying out a purchase by establish ing a telephone connection from said user to said 60
authorization platform to establish identity using said ID data set.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein said user selects
routing for said long distance phone call.
user to said authorization platform.
a user of said prepaid cash card;
(d) means for selecting a second interexchange carrier by
phone call on a least cost basis.
20. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: (g) adding additional monetary value to said prepaid cash card by carrying out a telephone connection from said
(a) means for generating a prepaid cash card which includes a unique data set for identi?cation (ID) pur poses; (b) means for selecting an interexchange carrier for use with said prepaid cash card when generating said
prepaid cash card; (0) an authorization platform accessible via telephone by
to an Integrated Services Control Point (ISCP), and a said ISCP facilitates transactions between said IP and a credit
18. The method of claim 17, wherein said authorization platform is programmed to carry out said long distance
34. A system arranged for carrying out purchases via a
telephone connection, comprising:
zation platform during said step (d).
purchasing network. 17. The method of claim 8, wherein said services provided by said second interexchange carrier comprise carrying out a long distance phone call.
operated from a second IP associated with said authorization platform and accessible by said user. 29. The method of claim 21, wherein said authorization platform is constituted by a telephone company tandem switch connected via voice lines to a plurality of telephone company central office switches. 30. The method of claim 1, wherein said generation of said prepaid cash card is carried out by operating at premises of said agent. 31. The method of claim 4, wherein said ID data set consists of voice recognition data. 32. The method of claim 31, wherein said voice recog nition data comprises user credit data in said credit purchas
service provider. 14. The method of claim 13, wherein said 1D data set further comprises a second PIN provided by said user. 15. The method of claim 12, wherein said ID data set further comprises voice ID data generated at said authori
operated at said authorization platform and accessible by said user.
8. The method of claim 6, wherein said purchase com
with a telephone company central o?ice switch servicing
change carriers in said authorization platform, and periodically updating said rates.
35. The system of claim 34, wherein said authorization platform comprises means for storing a monetary value associated with said prepaid cash card. 36. The system of claim 35, wherein said authorization platform further comprises means for verifying said ID data set of said prepaid cash card.
37. The system of claim 36, wherein said authorization platform further comprises means for exchanging data with external data systems. 38. The system of claim 37, wherein said external data
with a telephone company central office switch servicing
system comprises a credit purchasing system. 39. The system of claim 35, wherein said authorization platform further comprises means for comparing a monetary
44. The system of claim 42, wherein said authorization platform comprises a tandem switch connected to a tele 5
platform comprises a tandem switch connected to a tele phone company central o?ce switch servicing said user. 46. The system of claim 34, wherein said ID data com prises a Personal Identi?cation Number (PIN) generated
value assigned to said prepaid cash card in comparison to a
monetary value corresponding to said purchase. 40. The system of claim 39, wherein said authorization
platform further comprises a rating platform connected to said authorization platform and arranged to monitor said ?rst monetary value. 41. The system of claim 40, wherein said authorization platform further comprises means for determining at least cost routing of a long distance phone call based upon stored
when said prepaid cash card is generated. 47. The system of claim 46, wherein said ID data further comprises a group code provided by a telephone service 15
42. The system of claim 42, further comprising: (f) means for updating said rates in said authorization 43. The system of claim 42, wherein said authorization
platform comprises an Intelligent Peripheral (IP) associated
provider. 48. The system of claim 47, wherein said ID data further comprises a second PIN provided by said user. 49. The system of claim 48, wherein said ID data further
rates for interexchange carriers.
phone company central of?ce, switch servicing said user. 45. The system of claim 42, wherein said authorization
comprises voice ID data generated by said authorization 20